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CFO Of the Year

CFO Of The Year Awards 2009 Finalists

Bradley A. Denton
Sprouts Farmers Markets LLC
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

“I am the polar opposite of a micromanager; I truly empower those around me to do as they need to get the job done.”

Sprouts Farmers Markets Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Bradley A. Denton looks after the company — the nation’s second-largest natural food grocer — as if it were his own.

Earlier, when Sprouts struggled with financial losses and constrained cash flow, Denton loaned the Phoenix company money so it could make payroll and move forward. He later converted those loans into equity.

Denton also co-implemented a Sprouts-paid fund that provides loans and grants to employees who need financial assistance.

Denton’s most significant accomplishments are in the areas of capital structuring and fundraising. In his four and a half years at Sprouts, he has raised more than $62 million in equity and debt capital for the company. This capital was the catalyst for Sprouts’ strong growth from a few stores in Phoenix to 42 stores in four Western states. His capital structuring has added tens of millions of dollars in market capitalization.

“To provide growth companies with required capital is very rewarding in several regards, like here at Sprouts, where we will add 1,000 new jobs this year in a down economy and where we will add in excess of 1,200 new jobs next year; and personally rewarding where my board of directors, management team and I have created an enterprise whose market value is fast approaching a billion dollars,” Denton says.

Denton also created an investor relations department from scratch to serve nearly 500 investors, and organized Sprouts’ risk management department.

Larry Haggerty
TriWest Healthcare Alliance
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

“Our organization has established a great leadership team and it is through this team that we establish common goals, and my job is to ensure the proper allocation of resources to achieve these goals through collaboration and honest conversation.”

It’s no surprise that working with Washington bureaucracy is no easy task. But Larry Haggerty has helped to lead TriWest Healthcare Alliance into a lengthy and profitable partnership with the federal government.

TriWest is a Phoenix-based company that contracts with the Department of Defense to provide health care services to military personnel and retirees and their families in the Western U.S. and Alaska.

As executive vice president and chief financial officer, Haggerty has been a crucial player in three highly successful and competitive bids, and several years of profitable contract execution. Recently, TriWest was one of only three existing Defense Department contractors to survive negotiations and retain its government business. Boasting conservative but solid growth, TriWest has never had a quarterly loss, even though it’s in the kind of business in which it cannot raise prices. In addition, TriWest has never suffered investment losses.

Haggerty is praised for leading numerous negotiations with the Defense Department over thorny issues. He’s done it all with a style that has reinforced TriWest’s reputation for openness, transparency and an approach that balances both corporate and taxpayer interests.

“I believe that my single most important function as my role of CFO at TriWest is to maintain our reputation as a fair and honest contractor with the Department of Defense, and that TriWest continues to be seen as a good steward of the taxpayers’ funds,” Haggerty says.

Peter Harper
Scottsdale Insurance Company
Vice President of Finance and Treasurer

“I have a passion for learning and helping people and businesses succeed, which has enabled me to continue to excel in finance, and in business.”

Peter Harper is credited with thinking outside the box to bring greater financial discipline to Scottsdale Insurance Company, where he is vice president of finance and treasurer.

“I see finance as the discipline that can see the bigger picture and coordinate resources to build winning strategies, while providing an independent point of view regarding opportunities and risks impacting various parts of the business,” says Harper, who has been on the job four years.

In that time, Harper has implemented internal processes that are more metrics based. The end result is improved prioritization and execution of large information technology projects. In 2007, he led the acquisition, development and integration of the company’s D & O business, which already is meeting premium projections.

Harper’s responsibilities are numerous. He and his staff are in charge of operational and strategic financial plans and analysis, internal and external financial reporting, customer accounting, audits and re-insurance services. Harper also coordinates Scottsdale Insurance’s strategy, project and risk-management activities, as well as managing the development and implementation of accounting policies and controls. “Within Scottsdale Insurance, my finance team and I are viewed as strategic advisers and business partners, which enables us to influence key decisions through insightful analysis,” Harper says.

One mission of Harper’s finance division is to be recognized by customers and business partners as a knowledgeable and trusted adviser.

Tom Harris
Arizona Diamondbacks
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

“I work in a very unique industry (sports), and I am driven to make a difference at our company.”

In his 14 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tom Harris has rolled out a number of fiscal initiatives and is hailed as the sole voice in bringing the Major League Baseball team to a new level of financial efficiency.

“I believe that a direct result of my work can improve our overall operations — whether that is the performance of our baseball team, or the enjoyment and experience of a fan attending one of our games,” says Harris, the Diamondbacks’ executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Harris, who was named CFO in 2006, insisted that the team include finance in its “Circle of Success,” which defines the Diamondbacks’ main areas of focus. He helped establish the team’s core values of people, learning, relationships and integrity. Then he went to work on two major financial endeavors. First, Harris improved the Diamondbacks’ cash position with a $50 million capital infusion from the team’s owners. Second, he secured large lines of credit in an economic environment that offers safety nets to few companies.

Harris also reversed the team’s policy of allowing deferred player payments and created a timeline to pay down debt associated with that practice. In addition, he mapped out a new player payroll strategy and was influential in the creation of a policy aimed at avoiding player agreements that include incentives.

The Diamondbacks are a highly visible component of the Valley, and Harris makes sure he is actively involved in the community. He is president of the board for Special Olympics and an officer of the Diamondbacks’ charitable foundation.